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Aspects of Aging

Demographics of Seniors


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Census Report: 65+ in the United States: 2010

In 2011, the Baby Boom generation, people born from 1946 to 1964, began to turn age 65. As the large Baby Boom cohort ages, the United States will experience rapid growth in both the number aged 65 and older and their share of the total population. The social and economic implications of the aging of the U.S. population will be of significant interest to policy makers, the private sector, and individuals.

Older Americans 2016: Key Indicators of Well Being
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging
Downloadable statistics on older americans. Access the entire report as a pdf, or sections as spreadsheets. 

Fact Sheet: Aging in the United States
Population Reference Bureau
January 2016

Summary of the PRB's "Aging in the United States" report, examining recent trends in the over 65 population and how the aging "Baby Boomers" will reshape it. Provides link to the full report.

World's Older Population Grows Dramatically
National Institute on Aging (NIH)
March 28, 2016

Summary (with link) of a Census Bureau report commissioned by the NIA and examining world wide demographic, health and socioeconomic trends in the aging population,  which is expected to grow from the current 8.5% to 17% of the world's population by 2050.

Projections Show an Aging U.S. Population
National Public Radio
March 14, 2018

A new report from the Census Bureau projects that adults over 65 will outnumber children in the U.S. by 2035, with 1 in 5 people at or above retirement age, and deaths outnumbering births over the next 3 decades.

5 Things to Know About the Future U.S. Demographics
UVA Today
February 19, 2019

"By 2040, the national median age is expected to be 38.6 years - meaning that nearly half the country's population will be in its 40s and older." New Mexico is one of the states whose population will be older than the national average.

The Decade of the "Young Old" Begins
The Economist
December 2019

The height of the "baby boom" was 1955 to 1960. Members of that cohort begin turning 65 next year. The group is different from stereotypes of retirees. They are healthier and wealthier than older generations, and more active. They may not retire, or their retirement may be more active than previous. And studies show that continuing to work slows aging and memory loss. They travel more, and for longer periods, than other age groups, so are vital to the travel industry. They are changing the financial services industry as they manage their wealth themselves. Attitudes and policies are going to have to change to reflect the new population.

We're Getting Old, But We're Not Doing Anything About It
New York Times
December 23, 2019

Statistics show that the number of "old old" (those over 85) is increasing rapidly, while the birth rate continues to drop. The result is that there will be fewer people available to care for more frail elderly people. Society needs to change to deal with the demographic reality. Long term care is hard to find and expensive. We rely too much on unpaid (usually female) family members to provide care, which means they don't have savings for their own old age. Those who are healthy and willing should be provided opportunities to continue working. And we need to talk about the moral issues of end of life care, including physician assisted suicide.

You May Live a Lot Longer
New York Times
June 3, 2021

Life expectancy has increased dramatically in the last century, but the inevitable affects of aging mean the last years tend to be a rapid decline. New research is trying to figure out how to actually keep the body from aging as rapidly. Not only will diseases be eliminated, but so will biological aging.

In an Aging US, More Than Half of Adults Are Caregivers
Washington Post
November 15, 2022

More than half of Americans over 50 are providing care to one or more people over 65. Almost all of them are unpaid, and almost half have been providing care for more than 3 years. The numbers will continue to grow as the population ages. WHO projects that the number of people over 60 will double by 2050, and the number of those over 80 will triple. 

As Gen X and Boomers Age, They Confront Living Alone
New York Times
November 27, 2022

The number of Americans living alone is increasing rapidly, with the number over 50 growing fastest. Despite the demographic trends, the housing market is not reflecting the need for more smaller homes.

Who Will Care for "Kinless" Seniors?
New York Times
Decewmber 3, 2022 (updated Dec. 7)

Approximately 6.6 percent of the US population over 55 don't have a living spouse or biological children. About 1 percent lack a living spouse or partner, children, or siblings - including about 3% of women over 70. In a society that depends on family to care for the elderly, this population is a growing challenge. Who will take care of them when the can't do it themselves?

The Baby Boomers Are (Finally) Retiring
New York Times
January 11, 2023

As the US economy recovers from COVID, one factor continues to drive inflation - the lack of workers, which means higher wages. Part of the reduction in the number of workers is the decision of more boomers to retire after working longer than many expected.

The Double Whammy Making Italy the West's Fastest-Shrinking Nation
New York Times
January 30, 2023

While the birth rate drops, life spans are growing. The result, in Italy and much of the world, is a shrinking population. Governments are trying to stop or even reverse the trend. A related article examines the situation in Asia where, for example, almost a third of the population of Japan is over 65.

The US Population is Older Than It Has Ever Been
New York Times
June 22, 2023

Newly released Census data shows that the median age in the US is now over 38, a dramatic increase since 1980, when it was 30. Like parts of western Europe and Asia, the US is graying and having fewer children. This fact has dramatic implications for the workforce, the economy, and social programs. 

Can America Age Gracefully?
New York Times
September 6, 2023

According to the Census Bureau, in 2020 the share of Americans over 65 was 17 percent; by 2034, there will be more Americans of retirement age than there will be children. In a series of articles (linked at the bottom of this, the first), the New York Times examines what this means, and how we need to plan for the future. 

Older Americans Are Dominating Like Never Before
Washington Post
October 243, 2023

Older Americans are visibly dominating many fields, to the point that experts are wondering how their roles in a variety of professions will be filled by the smaller generations behind them. A decade from now, there will be more Americans over 65 than under 18. The implications are obvious - and concerning.

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